Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa today revealed that one of the deeds the police officers prepared the day the body of Nirmala Panta was found contained thumb print of her father, who was in India then.
Appearing before the State Affairs and Good Governance Committee of the House of Representatives, Thapa said the clothes worn by Nirmala, who was raped and murdered on July 26, were also burnt by police.
“It is a primary rule that when a crime is committed, deeds (legal documents) should be prepared and evidences preserved, but in this case the police burnt Nirmala’s clothes,” Thapa said.
“Another glaring negligence was found in a deed. Nirmala’s father returned from India on July 28, but one of the deeds the police prepared on July 27 has Nirmala’s father’s thumb print!”
Home Minister Thapa and Inspector General of Police Sarbendra Khanal admitted that the local police botched up the preliminary investigation.
A five-member high-level probe panel led by Joint Secretary and Director General of the Department of Prison Management Hari Prasad Mainali handed over the report to the Ministry of Home Affairs yesterday.
“We have received the report from the committee. We are investigating the case on the basis of the report,” Thapa said, adding that the government would find the perpetrators as soon as possible.
Thapa said he could not say with certainty when the police would be able to catch the perpetrators, but they would not leave any stone unturned in nabbing the guilty. “It may take sometime, but the police will nab the culprits finally,” he added. Khanal said the police had been unable to catch the culprits due to the negligence of the local police commander.
Responding to questions posed by lawmakers in the committee, Khanal said police officers found guilty would not only be suspended, but would also be imprisoned.
He said if Superintendent of Police Dilli Raj Bista, who was the commanding officer at the time of the incident in Kanchanpur, was found guilty, he would be jailed. “We are gathering evidence. The police have no political or other pressures in relation to this incident. We’ll bring the truth out as soon as possible,” he added.
He said the police were facing technological limitations in investigation. “We are doing everything manually and that is taking time. There are incidents when we cracked cases even after 13 years,” said Khanal.
Lawmaker Bijaya Subba said Bista was the key person in this incident. “He destroyed all evidences that were key in this incident. He should be punished,” he said.
Later, the committee directed the government to nab culprits and punish them as soon as possible. The committee also asked the ministry to start social awareness programme for all kinds of violence against women. The committee directed Nepal Police to carry out their work in a responsible and sensitive manner. It also directed the government to regulate sale of liquor and ban pornography sites on the internet.